Pre-free agency negotiation window opens Saturday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The weekend sets the stage for the NFL’s new calendar year.

NFL teams starting Saturday are allowed to contact and enter negotiations with the certified agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents when 2014 contracts expire at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, per NFL rules.

Any agreed upon contract during the three-day window, however, can’t be finalized with the new team until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The following Chiefs players are eligible for unrestricted free agency and could enter discussions with other teams. The official accrued seasons credited to the players comes courtesy of the NFLPA:

POSITION ACCRUED SEASONS
Avant, Jason

WR

9

Coleman, Kurt

S

5

Gafford, Thomas

LS

7

Gordon, Richard

TE

4

Harris, Ryan

OT

7

Houston, Justin (franchised)

OLB

4

Hudson, Rodney

C

4

Linkenbach, Jeff

OL

5

Mauga, Joshua

ILB

5

McGlynn, Mike

OL

7

McKnight, Joe

RB

4

Owens, Christopher

CB

6

Parker, Ron

S

4

Vickerson, Kevin

DL

9

The Chiefs earlier in the week ensured outside linebacker Justin Houston wouldn’t enter the market as an unrestricted free agent by using the non-exclusive franchise tag, which carries a one-year, $13.1 million price.

Houston is allowed to enter negotiations with other teams as a non-exclusive franchise tagged player, but the Chiefs can match the offer. Should the Chiefs decline, the team signing Houston would owe the Chiefs two first-round picks as compensation.

The Chiefs had talks at the NFL Scouting Combine with the agents of Parker, Mauga and Coleman to express interest in bringing those players back, as previously reported by ChiefsDigest.com.

UPDATE: The Chiefs and Mauga on Friday agreed to a three-year deal, a source confirmed Friday afternoon with ChiefsDigest.com.

October 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA; Chiefs center Rodney Hudson (61) blocks San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Ian Williams (93) at Levi's Stadium. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

October 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA; Chiefs center Rodney Hudson (61) blocks San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Ian Williams (93) at Levi’s Stadium. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs also met with Hudson’s representative at the Combine, Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star reports.

Kansas City has four exclusive rights free agents: Linebacker/defensive end Josh Martin, wide receiver Junior Hemingway, wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., and tight end Demetrius Harris.

UPDATE: The Chiefs tendered Hemingway at the one-year league minimum, a source confirmed Friday afternoon with ChiefDigest.com. Terez Paylor of the Star was the first to report the news.

Safety Kelcie McCray and linebacker Dezman Moses are restricted free agents.

The Chiefs have been busy in recent weeks clearing much-needed cap space, cutting ties with linebacker Joe Mays, tight end Anthony Fasano and wide receivers Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins.

But additional moves are needed before the start of the calendar year when the team has to be under the cap.

[Related: Diving into Chiefs’ salary cap before free agency]

The Chiefs are an estimated $2.9 million over the salary cap as of Friday morning, according to spotrac.com.

UPDATE: The Chiefs on Friday afternoon released defensive lineman Vance Walker. That move now has the Chiefs at an estimated $1.6 million over the cap, according to updated figures at spotrac.com.

POTPOURI

• Free agency is often a fast-paced period of misdirection and overthinking. Buzzwords to keep in mind include “could” and “should,” which are speculative in nature and not definitive of a transaction.

• Friend of the site, ArrowheadPride.com, does an annual wonderful job of monitoring anything dealing with the Chiefs’ movements. This tracker is a must-follow for bookmarking purposes.

• The Pro Football Writers of America’s (PFWA) Twitter list of all team beat writers is a must-follow during free agency for breaking news around the league during free agency.

• Chiefs-related news on Twitter from beat writers/reporters who cover the team on a daily basis, and consistently break news or independently confirm a breaking story: Terez Paylor and Randy Covitz of The Kansas City Star; Adam Teicher of ESPN; Dave Skretta of The Associated Press; B.J. Kissel of the Chiefs; and of course this account.

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